What would make ideal golf conditions? Gorgeous weather that tops out in the 70s? Golf courses in peak shape with emerald green turf shimmering under the sun? Relatively light crowds in restaurants and hotels? How about the Cascade peaks bursting in the background with a gorgeous fresh dusting of snow?

Welcome to September golf at Black Butte Ranch.

“It’s beautiful today boy, that’s for sure,” said Bob Canfield, of Palm Desert, California, as he and his wife Jan warmed up on the Big Meadow driving range. “Black Butte is really beautiful. It’s our first time playing here. We played Glaze Meadow the other day, and it was a little chiller, but it was gorgeous. We loved the golf course.”

The Canfields are on a month long vacation to Central Oregon, the couple’s way of beating the oppressive summer heat of Southern California’s Mojave Desert.

The Canfields nearly cut their vacation short two weeks after a few smoky days. Now, they are glad they did not.

“The smoke cleared after about three or four days, just enough for us to see how beautiful it could be,” Bob Canfield said. “The weather in late September looks to be nice. A couple of days of rain, but so what? Snow-capped mountains now today. God. It’s just gorgeous.”

Paul Peerboom agreed.

Warming up for a practice round at Black Meadow Friday, The Portland-area resident said that every year he travels to Black Butte Ranch on the third weekend of September.

He meets up with about two dozen of his friends to play in their own weekend long tournament.

Why September?

“It’s when we can get the most participation and the weather has been great each year we’ve done it,” Peerboom said. “It just seems a bit easier to get organized and to find a rental home (at Black Butte Ranch).”

And then there is the weather.

“We got lucky this weekend,” Peerboom added. “It looks like it is going to be 75-80 degrees on Sunday.”

That is precisely the kind of weather that lures golfers over from Portland and the Willamette Valley, said Mike Meadows, a Portland resident who is playing in Peerboom’s group.

“I think people come over here because of the weather,” Meadows said. “It’s drier and usually sunny.”

Such a reaction is no surprise to Tom Baker, the longtime head professional at Black Butte Ranch. Baker has seen for years that knowledgeable golfers tend to travel to Central Oregon after Labor Day.

“It is one of our busiest times for group play,” Baker said. “It makes sense. The weather is great. The kids have gone to school. It is a great time to play Black Butte Ranch.”

It won’t be long before the Canfields return to Palm Desert. But until then, they plan to soak up all that this region has to offer.

That list can feel almost endless this time of year, said Jan Canfield.

“We enjoy the outdoors,” she said. “So we’ve been hiking, biking, tubing, golfing and drinking and enjoying all the restaurants. There is just so much to do in a relatively (small area).”

It does not take long, apparently, for visitors to make themselves at home in Central Oregon.

Come see for yourself.

Book a tee time online, call 855-210-5305 or the Golf Shop at 541-595-1545.